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Showing posts from March, 2014

Giving Away Books by Jan Ruth

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SILVER RAIN will be FREE for Valentine’s Day.

‘You’re giving away your latest title? That’s crazy!’

I agree.

However, the indie industry is still relatively new and as with all things internet, the goal-posts are forever changing. Even in the ancient days of traditional publishing, books were gifted in an effort to raise profile, so paying for promotion and offering free material, is not going to go away. My experiment was more about the quest for visibility.

Giving away books remains a controversial argument. I admit, I find it hugely discouraging that as indie authors we are expected (quite rightly) to present carefully edited books with professional formatting and covers... but for free. I’ve never done it, not with a full-length novel which has taken me a year to produce. I have a set of short stories long-term free, but I’m not convinced it directs readers to seek out my other titles, no matter how much they enjoyed the material. Why should they? All readers need to do is wait for t…

Captain Square Jaw! Guest Post by Steve Hannam

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My name is Steve Hannam and I write under the pen name of Danson Thunderbolt.  

Why Danson Thunderbolt?  Well, having written my first book I was looking for new character names and for some unknown reason started thinking of the actor Ted Danson.  This was way back before he was in C.S.I. Leicester, or whatever franchise location they had settled on.  The name Danson I liked.  Ted was my father’s name so I steered clear of that, but the name ‘Thunderbolt’ hit me literally like a...and as I was looking for a suitably ‘wacky’ name I decided to take that one as it was in keeping with the story I had just completed.  

My stories are grouped under the short snappy title of The Ever-So Heroic Adventures of Captain Square Jaw! and they are (so far) a couple of spoof pirate stories about the most famous pirate ever to have sailed the Six Seas, and the Manchester Ship Canal.  The influences are taken from my love of the 50’s and 60’s radio shows, The Goon Showand Round The Horne along with the …

How to make monkeys do your marketing... by Cally Phillips

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There’s currently some talk within AE as to whether this is a good idea to do and so feedback here (or elsewhere) from members and blog readers would be welcomed.  I’m not sure that it’s application is really good for AE but I’ve used it for The Galloway Raiders and its working well for that.  And I won a free vinyl monkey toy for signing up.  Yes, I know, why would anyone want one? I refer to him now as my ‘marketing department’ but apart from that, I’m really not so sure that the world’s resources are being well utilised when such a thing even exists. Still, I’ve never won a free anything before so I shan’t look the gift monkey in the mouth.
Without more ado…
How to get a monkey to do your marketing. MailChimp to the rescue.  Go to www.mailchimp.com Sign up for a free account.
You get to the dashboard screen. Account settings. You can stay on the free service as long as you have less than 2000 on your list and don’t send out more than twice a month.
Like everything techie, you …

Books are like Meals ... by Enid Richemont

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Yesterday I went to the opening of The English Touring Opera show, for which my daughter was the designer. It was an operatic adaptation of the classic picture book by John Burningham, 'Borka, the Goose with no Feathers', and performed in a newish building at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew.

I went with a friend, in her car, for which I was grateful, because I had picked up the current London lurgy, and was feeling dreadful. I was so glad I hadn't cancelled, though, which I was tempted to do, because the production was amazing, and the reactions of the very young audience fascinating (I was intrigued, because I've only recently started writing for this age group). This image is courtesy of Robert Hugill http://www.sphericaleditions.co.uk a composer/reviewer who sat next to us (we didn't dare to photograph, because of sensitive feelings around photographing children). It shows (for those of you unfamiliar with the story), Mr and Mrs Plumpster, who are two geese w…

Real Earning Figures for ebooks - Andrew Crofts

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One of the most annoying things when you are setting out on the self-publishing path is trying to find out exactly what other authors are earning in order to prepare your expectations. Authors are traditionally evasive about their earnings, either out of modesty or embarrassment, so it is almost impossible for a newcomer to get a true idea of what rewards are likely to lie in store.
So, in the hope of encouraging others towards greater transparency, I thought I would share some actual figures for my novella, “Secrets of the Italian Gardener”, which went up on Amazon about six months ago as part of their “White Glove Service”, in conjunction with United Agents, one of the biggest and most successful literary agencies in London.
After a month or so the money started to dribble in at about £50 a month, but much of that was from purchases which I had made of POD copies that I could hand out for promotional purposes.
The reviews started to build up on various blogs, writers’ websites and …

E-book Pricing and Channels? It's All a Matter of ... Timing by Ruby Barnes

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One of the advantages of being an independent author or micro-publisher is you get to choose and control your sales channels. One of the disadvantages of being an independent author or micro-publisher is you get to choose and control your sales channels.

If you have an e-book to sell then the obvious place to go and tout your wares is Amazon. Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing has an easy upload platform, good opportunities for testing the product before finally clicking Publish, global storefronts and facilities for tweaking the book page via Amazon Author Central. Happy days. Amazon even offers a couple of promotional schemes if you give them 90 days exclusivity and join KDP Select. Up to 5 days of Free Book Promotion (would you want to do that? Debate is never-ending on the subject) or the Kindle Countdown which gives a time-based promotional discount for your title. Why does Amazon offer these benefits in return for exclusivity? Because other channels do sell e-books.

If you decide to …

It is not so, it was not so, and God forbid it should be so... - Susan Price

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http://stories4learning.com/susan/mrfox2/
          The link - it does take a little time to load, sorry - will take you to my retelling of 'Mr. Fox' - the 'bloodthirstiest folk-tale in the English tradition.' It is not for the highly imaginative of nervous disposition.           I coded up this e-book, in part, because I was asked, by the RSA Academy in Tipton, to hold a workshop teaching 'how to write a scary story.'
          I think folk-lore in general is a great teacher of how to create suspense and readability. Look at Billy Goats Gruff - a master-class in creating tension. You may not want to write about billy goats and trolls, but I'll forgive you for that. The principles of demonstrating the threat, making the audience wait, increasing the threat, and making the audience wait again, can be transposed to any kind of story.

          In the workshop I gave I drew on the work of Dr David Rose and his 'Reading to Learn' reading strategy.
          …

Ethics - and writing about people with no right of reply - by Jo Carroll.

I write about travel - part of the fun of travelling is the people I meet.

I make no secret of my writing when I'm travelling. My notebook is on the table beside me as I eat; on my knee in bus stations. It is often the focus of poeples' curiosity. Am I a writer, they ask.

Some take the opportunity to tell me the story of their lives and then ask if I'll put them in a book. They're looking for their time in the spotlight. I make no promises. Others are reticent, needing to know I'll not scatter their secrets. I never do - if someone tells me something in confidence, then I keep it to myself.

And I give details of my books and web address to anyone who asks, so they can check up and see what I've said about them. They have a right to reply.

But I've just come back from Cuba, where people only have access to the internet if they can prove they need it for their businesses or for educational reasons. And this excludes, not only the obvious sites like Facebook a…

Small Steps for Me, Giant Leaps for My Productivity by Lev Butts

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I have discussed before about writing as a kid, how I used to carry around a notebook everywhereand write whenever I had downtime, regardless how little (even a few seconds would grant me enough time to jot down a quick word or phrase and move my narrative infinitesimally forward).

I carried that notebook (and others like it) around for years. For the longest time, the only way I could write was longhand, which virtually assured I'd never see any kind of publication, traditional or otherwise, since I lacked the motivation to go through the trouble of typing what I'd already written. Secretly, I hoped for some kind of apocalypse to occur so afterwards I could just travel around with my notebooks and read them to people for food and lodging, like a literate Mad Max.

It wasn't until I was in tenth grade, that I made the technological leap to a typewriter. It happened like this: My dad had done a favor for a coworker and been paid with this electric typewriter. Since my dad had …

Authors Electric Cook the Books

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Our regular blogger for today, Pam Howes, can't blog today - and while we all wish Pam well, it does give us a chance to announce the new Authors Electric anthology, Cooking the Books. Go into any bookshop - go to Amazon - and what do you find? - Nigella, Jamie, Nigel, Louise, Gordon, Delia…
So, in self-defence, the Authors Electric decided to produce a cook book. Gathered together here, on these electronic pages, you will find tasty treats and unusual eats from seventeen of the Authors Electric - and Cally Phillips donated a photograph of her hot-plate for the cover. (and Susan Price bribed her brother with cake and cider so he would design the cover.) Valerie Laws wrote the words for the Amazon page: -               Eating your words, devouring a book, writing and food go together like fiction and chips. Here’s a chance to cook from our books with e-readable recipes, or just get the not-so-skinny on what keeps authors stoked while they scribble: some of it yummy, some of it funny. A…

My Adventures with Titles by Pauline Chandler

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Friday, March 21st 
What’s in a Title? ‘A Rose By any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet…’ Well, .No, Actually it Wouldn’t..
It can take ages to choose the title of your next book. All writers know that the process can go on for months, with traditional publishers usually making the final decision.  I always have a title for my work-in-progress, a ‘working title’ that's useful when approaching publishers. Then, if all goes well and the book reaches the publication stage, there has to be some serious thinking about the final title. Some titles, I must say, are quite mysterious. 

                           They don't reveal much, do they? Perhaps that’s the point!
The title is important to me from the moment I put pen to paper. It’s a sort of seal on the deal, a promise that the work will be a proper book one day. As such, it has to be both inspirational and associated with the heart of the work.  
For months, my first book, ‘Dark Thread’, was called ‘Through a Glass Darkly’. That just…